The Strange But Fortunate Tale of Padstow Jack

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After the Storm

 

A storm was above and the wind was intense,
Rattling resistant windows,
It battered against the glass,
Salt patina crazed, obscuring the view.
The sea wall boomed, a dark drum.

The rocks, veiled by mussel shell
Opening wide to the tide,
Lay hidden beneath the wild surface
Of broiling and tumbling water
Turned in a pool of cross currents

The fog horn sang out
Above the deep throated echo of sirens
Who lure sailing men to their sea graves.
The tides of the turn leave us debris,
Strange treasures with rope and mast beams,

Blue glass rolled smooth by long tides,
Smashed shells and well polished pebbles.
Fragments of cuttlefish bone.
After the storm we gather them home
To make decorative frames for our mirrors

All our mirrors face out to the ocean.
Wind chimes of shells hang in the light.
Cuttlefish carved into faces unknown
Hang from blue string on our walls.
The storm did no damage at all.

 

 

Lost Watch

I lost my father’s watch in the sea
When I wandered about on a beach.
It’s well that it rests there,
He wanted an ocean burial,
But the sea was too far out of reach.
We didn’t have time for arrangements,
Time flew by too fast,
but now he is rested at last.
My family heirloom lies on a sea bed of shells,
Corroded by rust,
Informing the fish of the turning of tides
As it drifts back and forth in the currents
Showing it silvered face
round as the full moon, in it’s season.
I lost my father’s watch in the sea.
He would be happy,
But time seems to have stopped for me.
Like a screen on TV,
Gone blank.

Sea Shells

here are we
curled and contained
in this room
high above the breathable sea
bathed in a shaft of moonlight
drifting in dreams
holding on tight as the world turns
our breath swells and sinks with the waves

sea shells follow the tide line below
left behind at the turning
bleached and beached on the white sand

time wears the solid rock to small grains
energy moves from this place to that
nothing is ever the same
but remains
and repeats
and remains
eternal
curled and contained

The Fisherman

why would you go to sea, she said,
when there’s food to be had in the shops ~
to feel the strength of the swelling waves
and to know the threat of the rocks
and to hear the souls in the unfathomed deep
where the creatures of legend drift and roll
and dream of us in their sleep
and to hear the bell of the solemn buoy
and the voice of the fog horn blow
when it sings to us through the seething mists
in the storm as it bellows and grows
and the wild whipping wind
and the timbers’ groan
and to follow the stars in the dark
and to enter the harbour’s sanctuary
and rejoice to be home at last
where we sit to mend our broken nets
while you sit in your safe place at home

The Rocking Stone

On Cadair Idris, close by to the bottomless lake of Llyn Cau, I spent the night on a Rocking Stone, with a youthful desire in my heart, to be a Poet Bard. Legend has it that a night on Cadair’s cold flank gives the curse of madness, or the blessings of Seer or Bard. I knew the risk to my mind and the risks of the rocking stone, the balancing of the stone, a balance to be held on a dark night, high up and all alone. I sat and prayed in silence to the moon and stars above, looking up with eyes wide open, alert to the mountain, the rock and the wind that blew in that desolate spot.

The night was long. I came down with the dawn as nothing; an empty vessel waiting to be filled. No-one, nothing at all. Aware that I was very small.

Ten years later, or was it five, and does it matter how old I was, I spent the night on a rock atop a Tor, looking out across a wide open remote moor. I saw the creatures of the night as they scurried about and eyes shining and blinking in the dark. I heard the song of the wind through the rocks. Nothing more. It was enough.

The night was long. I came down feeling I belonged to something though I knew not what. I became a journey begun.

The night I spent on the cliff edge where the wind sings in the grass above granite rock, the waves beat on the rocks below and seven hours became one. Time slowed, or the stars and the moon sped by, who can tell which, the night I sat high on the cliff edge, the moon path spread across the sea, glimmering on water, reaching out to the a far horizon.

The stars, with the moon at the centre of all, moved in a slow ballet of curved motion across the sky, the constellations shone out from the web of night, a rotation eternal, a moving wheel. Beneath me the tide rolled in an out, fast. Time did not stop, it slowed or the world sped up while beauty shone out high above.

Seven hours became one.

If I can, by a shift of my mind, alter seven hours to one could I change one hour to seven and make life longer or can I pull seven hours into one? What is time but illusion? The days of a child are long, a summer an eternity. Seven hours could easily be as seven decades to a shorter lived creature than me. Does a butterfly live six score years and ten in so short a span as a day.

The earth is a rocking stone held in place by the moon while the sun brings it life. Time does not exist. Life and death is all we have and are but we are not bound in time.

We are all finely balanced on the stone. We either fall off or we balance.

This is all I have learned on the Rocking Stone. This is not the end of my journey, a journey I make alone.

Portmeirion

My mother said,
“Bow three times, low,
if you see the new moon
through glass.
And be sure to turn
your purse over.”

We rarely went on holiday.
We had no money.

Not far from the sea ,
an Italianate village
overhangs a Welsh river,
with statues
preserved from the past,
stone mermaids,
washed ashore.

We stroll in a dream,
eating ice-cream.

Sunshine comes and goes,
overcast by scurrying clouds.
We hope the weather will hold.

On the pavement I found
a pebble,
a ring
and a discarded wrapper
that caught the sun.
It twinkled.

Scrawled on a scrap of paper,
”The end of the world is nigh,
don’t look now but we’re watching’’

There were roses and apples
piled in a basket.
I wondered who left then there.
The bell rings in the tower.

We went back to a cheap hotel.
It was over.

My lover is away.
My lover is often away
but it makes no distance.

I dreamed of my father last night,
we wandered room to room
as he shared his wisdom.

“How can we believe what they tell us now
when we know they have lied before.
Its all manipulation,
since 1984 and before.
Think about Aldous Huxley.
He knew.
That man had vision.”

When I was a child I dreamed of flying,
flying above the blue curve of a bay,
probably flying homeward.

Outside my window
is a wall, overgrown,
with moss and ivy.
Goodnight room,
goodnight window,
goodnight moon.
Hello Cupid and Psyche.

The Sea

watching the sea
as it rises and falls
always awaiting the seventh

the rock pools are flooded
deep water drums
as each wave hits them again

the green at the heart of the wave
as it curls in the sun
and comes crashing down

fading, dying, it washes the shore
white frothing bubbles of foam
leaving smooth darkened sand in its wake

the line of white shells and pebbles
defines and records the retreat
and, for a time, holds the imprint
of my feet as i walk away

love, like the ocean, is endless
life and death on the tide
makes the cycle complete
and the loving more sweet